Initially I started this blog with tech in mind and now look at this, the third VMware certification post in a row. This is essentially a re-written version of my two reddit posts on the topic.
Right upfront: There are many blog posts around for DCV-Design but I did not understand them after I took the exam for the first time
Some say the VCAP6-DCV design is one of the toughest VMware exams out there. I agree but not only because of the skills you require.
To begin with – I failed the exam on my first try on Feb 15 with 271 points (300 needed) and I was quite upset about this. Granted I took the exam too lightly regarding the AMRPS questions.
However, I was worked up mainly because I found the actual design questions and topics not too hard, but for the love of god, my worst problem were the instructions with the design (visio) questions.
Even hours after the exam I was still wondering what was expected on the canvas. I would read the instructions up to the design requirements with an idea in my head and … was completely thrown off track and unsure after finishing the page.
On the master design question in particular, I spent like 30 minutes at reading, re-reading, starting over and finally I totally blew it. With the other design stuff I had a similar “WTF” experience but not to that degree.
After venting my frustration out on reddit I quickly learned that failing this exam for the first time seems to be pretty normal and numerous people actually said that they sat into multiple re-takes.
All those people cheered me up, but going further Jordan Roth and Bilal Ahmed took it further and supported me greatly with advice for my next try. This was not done by talking about content, the vSphere stuff was not my problem. How to understand what is expected of me – my worst problem – was addressed by our talks.
Initially I expected to do this around mid-march but the exam was driving me mad. My second try on Feb 24 was successful, but not great, with 364 points.
Side note: It went quite well until question 10 where I had to draw an auto deploy design (and for reasons unknown even to me I hate auto deploy). At this point, I started swearing so loud that the test centre person came into the room to check on me 🙂
However, I skipped the question and took it on at the end – did not know if I even scored one point but the rest was ok.
What lessons did I learn?
- I think it all boils down to trust your gut instinct (do your design to your best knowledge)
- READ the last paragraph so you get the formal stuff correct in the design questions. Re-Read it to make sure you understand it.
- As a non-native English speaker like me make sure you do get the correct meaning of the wording, I tend to fly over sentences in English thinking I understood it and this is the stuff that will cost you the points.
- For RAMPS and RCAR training, I looked at a current project of mine and started categorizing stuff. This helped a lot. You can relate to real life stuff.
- As an additional resource, I’d like to mention vBrownBag. There is now a great series starting which does a fantastic job of explaining the requirements (functional, non-functional) as well as RAMPS and so on.
- Don’t panic if the screen looks overloaded. If you feel that you need everything on screen for the design then this is it. Also check if the connectior snapped at the right place.
- Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple. Do as as required.
- Everyone says focus on design which is true, but drag and drop questions with ramps and RCARS can be easy points which mitigate missing points from the canvas parts.